Sometimes Jenny is a boy.
A boy named Juwon.
You of all people should have known better to fall for a Jenny, to fall for a Juwon.
The first time you saw Forrest Gump was with your cousins. Your parents had left you all to go on a couples’ trip. Your oldest cousin who was 16 was supposed to be baby-sitting the rest of you and making sure you were watching only PG movies had snuck out with a boy.
From the moment Jenny showed up onscreen, you had recognized her for who she was. A lost soul, forever seeking things in places they couldn’t be found. You were only ten then but you knew people like Jenny were not mere fiction. They existed. Your aunty Kike was one of them and was on her 3rd husband already. You had overheard your parents discussing Aunty Kike’s ‘issue’ many times.
“Those poor men,” Your mother had said.
“Indeed,” Your father had agreed.
Aunty Kike was a confirmed Jenny but that didn’t stop her from being your favorite aunt. You especially loved it when she slept over, usually after a fight with whatever husband she was currently with.
So if anyone should have known better than to fall for a Jenny, it was you. Yet like a Forrest, you did.
Since seeing the movie with your cousins, you have seen it countless times after. As you grew older and wiser, you had learned to be more sympathetic with Jenny. She had had a tough life after all. Who could blame her for wanting to be a bird that wanted to fly, fly away?
You had heard stories about him. How he left his first wife. How even before then he had left a string of broken hearts in his wake. How he dated women few others would want.
You had heard the stories. You knew the tale. Yet you told yourself that a good girl could change even the worst man. That love and kindness would make the caged bird sing melodies reserved for only the wild and free.
It has been raining for 6 days. You have been weeping for 3 out of the 6. Unlike you though, the rain hasn’t run out of tears. The person that stares back at you from the vanity mirror in your bedroom reminds you of the witch that cooked Hansel and Gretel even though you are no cannibal. Your eyes stare back at you lifeless. There are lines around your mouth that were not there before the rains started.
You don’t know whether to be thankful for the rains. On the news yesterday, there had been reports of people drowning in areas of towns with even worse drainage than Lekki where you live. Outside your house, the roads are unpassable which is why Juwon is still here. So you don’t know whether to be thankful for the rains.
His things have been packed since Wednesday when he told you he was leaving. It is now Saturday and the single suitcase containing everything he owns in this life has started to look forlorn standing against the door.
It is barely 7am and yet you can hear him moving around your kitchen. He is probably making coffee. You have never liked coffee, you were more of a hot chocolate girl but loving someone meant learning to love things they loved and so before Juwon moved in, you had ordered a Keurig and loads of coffee and hot chocolate k-cups.
“Why?” You had asked him finally yesterday when you couldn’t take it any longer.
“You know why Toyin,” He had answered, his eyes looking everywhere but your face.
“I know why? I know why are you hurting me so badly? I know why are you are a sorry excuse for a human being? I know why I still love you so damned much when I should hate you? Damn it! Infact why are you still here? Why can’t you go and drown in the bloody rain?”
He had said nothing for a while and you had started to cry for saying things you didn’t mean.
“Babe, you are perfect. I don’t know how else to tell you but as cliché as it sounds it isn’t you Toyin, it is me. All me. I am lost and every day I stay with you, you get deeper and deeper into this lostness. I hurt everyone I love Toyin, everyone. And I love you Toyin, more than I have loved anyone else. Which is why I won’t let you get lost.”
That was all he had said and you had both fallen to the floor in tears.
“Stay,” you pleaded, as he moved over you, his tears spilling on your naked bosom. You had fallen asleep in his arms after. That is all you remember from yesterday. Waking up now in your own bed, alone, you know nothing had changed. Birds need to fly.
Today is the seventh day since the rains began. It is more of a drizzle now rather than the previous relentless pouring of the past six days.
You hear the front door opening downstairs but you don’t move. There is no need to. Even though you have so much to tell Juwon, you have learned many things from Forrest. One is that birds and butterflies are poor companions. That they need your admiration but not your love.
You can hear the sounds of Lagos coming alive again outside and so you pick yourself up and head downstairs to the kitchen to drink the hot chocolate the boy named Juwon left you.
The dove came back to Noah twice but not the third time. This is the third time Juwon will be leaving you. You drink the hot chocolate, close your eyes and pray he finds dry land and doesn’t return so you too can get out of the ark, the cage that is this love.
Song of the day: Kodaline – All I Want
Photo credit: My cousin Femi is an aspiring photographer. Please show him some love on his Facebook page